Some auctions breaking law by selling sored horses – HSUS

Dutch, a sored Tennessee Walking Horse rescued from the New Holland Auction.
Dutch, a sored Tennessee Walking Horse rescued from the New Holland Auction. © HSUS

Some American horse and livestock auctions are breaking the law by selling horses showing evidence of soring, the Humane Society of the United States says.

Dutch was bought from the New Holland auction with stacked shoes.
Dutch was bought from the New Holland auction with stacked shoes still on his feet. © HSUS

It wants the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pursue meaningful penalties against auction establishments that facilitate the sale of sored horses in violation of the Horse Protection Act.

The HSUS and Omega Horse Rescue recently acquired a Tennessee walking horse from a livestock auction.

The horse, now named Dutch, arrived at the auction still wearing tall, heavy stacked shoes used on Big Lick walking horses. The society said Dutch’s pasterns were visibly scarred from years of soring abuse.

Dutch had already been sold through two auctions before before acquired by the charities, the HSUS said.

Following an investigation, the USDA issued letters of warning to several of the individuals who permitted Dutch to be put up for sale illegally, the society said.

However, it wants the USDA to make auctions aware that the sale of sored horses is illegal and will not be tolerated. It says the agency should prosecute those that fail to comply.

The society’s vice-president for equine protection, Keith Dane, outlined his concerns in a letter to a senior USDA official.

“Without adequate enforcement of the Horse Protection Act at horse and livestock auctions, unscrupulous owners and trainers have the opportunity to discard scarred show horses without facing the consequences of illegally selling a horse who has been subjected to soring,” Dane said.

Dane urged the USDA to pursue the maximum penalties available against any auction establishment found in violation of the Horse Protection Act rather than issuing warnings.

“Livestock and horse auctions are responsible for complying with the Horse Protection Act and should be held accountable for violations of the law at their sales – not allowed to provide an easy outlet for the dumping by their owners of horses who have been victims of soring abuse,” Dane said.

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4 thoughts on “Some auctions breaking law by selling sored horses – HSUS

  • July 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Even if tis horse was actually a victim of soring (the shoes alone do not mean a law was broken), the HSUS response is as usual, excessive. The government only has so much money. If the USDA drops everything to concentrate on this animal, then other more important jobs that protect people, don’t get done. Furthermore, this type of HSUS publicity stunt is done to make people think the HSUS is actually doing something to help animals, It is cheep to do and just might generate money for the HSUS. Don’t be duped, if you want to help animals, give to your local shelter. They really help animals and they need the money.

    • August 19, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Randy, are you suggesting that enforcing the law is a waste of money and a “publicity stunt?” Can you look at the photos provided and think anything but soring was the actual cause? Is your local shelter doing anything to help the unfortunate victims of soring? Mine isn’t since there is no big lick industry where I live. What are your suggestions to actually help the horses who are trapped in this bizarre human pursuit?

  • July 26, 2014 at 10:58 am

    The stacks are abusive. The chains are abusive. The soring is abusive. I will gladly volunteer to whack you repeatedly in the shins with a chain Randy and then watch you prance.

  • July 27, 2014 at 3:59 am

    The Big Lick – the ugliest, most inelegant form of equitation ever developed. Riders hunched like vultures over horses made to move in an exaggerated and grotesque manner. Sounds like Randy is a supporter.

    Leave the walking horses to shine and be admired using their natural paces without the exaggerated movements brought about through greed, pain and abuse.


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